On January 9th, SCU’s Deep Underground Science Research Group and researchers from the Department of Earth Science at the University of Cambridge reached the unanimous decision to jointly establish the Sichuan University-University of Cambridge Earth Science Reserach Centre. Academician Xie Heping has taken a leading role in facilitating negotiations between the two sides.
Later on the same day, Professor Simon Redfern, Head of the Department of Earth Science at Cambridge, met with Academician Xie in the Academicians‘ Conference Room of the School of Hydraulic and Hydra-electric Engineering, where they discussed concrete plans for the establishment of the center. Academician Xie supplied an overview of the past work of SCU’s Deep Underground Science Research Group, in particualr in the area of underground hydrolics engineering and related fields. Deep underground science, he noted, has been selected for world-class discipline construction at Sichuan University, earning it the status of one of SCU’s top disciplines. As SCU and the University of Cambridge share a number of common scientific interests in this area, and in light of favorable research conditions at SCU, the cooperation between the two sides holds great promise. Enjoying the solid support of both universities, the province of Sichuan, and the city of Chengdu, collaborative efforts have already made significant headway. Xie proposed that the cooperation proceed in three steps: first, the establishment of the center; second, the establishment of a research institute to serve the wider scientific community; and third, the establishment of a College of Earth Science at SCU.
SCU Vice President Yan Shijing and other university leaders joined the talks.
The joint research center will rely on the combined expertise and resources of both sides, including Sichuan University’s State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering and the Key Laboratory of Deep Underground Science and Engineering, the latter of which falls directly under the Ministry of Education. The focus will be on conducting frontline, multi-disciplinary scientific research that advances the field while serving socio-economic development in the region and beyond. Specifically, the two universities will collaborate in the areas of earthquake and disaster research, deep underground science and engineering, as well as climate protection and emission control technologies. The University of Cambridge will send one of its professors to take up a long-term post at SCU and also recruit post-doctoral candidates.
In recent years, the two universities have collaborated on a variety of projects. In October 2014, they officially launched a joint program of compiling the world’s largest database on Himalayan studies. In July 2015, the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge launched a formal program of academic cooperation and talent exchange with Sichuan University. Talks for this latest collaboration project began in 2017 with the visit of Redfern to SCU last September.